Patrick Henry HS senior Siew Thao
MINNEAPOLIS - You open the door to the advanced literature class at Minneapolis Patrick Henry and you could literally hear a pin drop. The students, most of them Asian, are engrossed in their particular books. This makes it especially difficult to spot the Academic All-Star because in a class full of over-achievers, almost any one of them could be classified as such.
"I'm here from 7:00 until 5:00 or 7:00," says Henry Senior Siew Thao. "Then, from there I go home and do homework from like, 8:00 until 11:00 or 12:00."
Siew's long days come from his involvement in a variety of groups like yearbook, National Honor Ssociety, senior committee, and Leos in action, a community service group with the local Lions Club.
Despite only taking up tennis in middle school, Siew is a now a team captain, and expects to play #1 singles for the Patriots this spring.
But it was partnering to win the school and regional competitions for the "Demantec Retail Challenge," a competition based on retail and business acumen, that really served to focus Siew Thao.
"Before that I thought I knew a lot, but then through this whole thing I figured out that I still have a lot more to learn," says Siew. "So it was a wake-up call."
Like many students at Patrick Henry, English is not Siew's first language. His parents came from Thailand and despite a work ethic and a sincere desire to succeed in their new country, Siew is watching them struggle.
"They didn't have an education and right now they are struggling," says Siew.
Siew hopes to help rectify that situation some day through a career based in chemistry.
"I can see that education is the key to being successful and having a stable life," says Siew.
Siew has already been accepted to multiple schools but he is still waiting to see how the financial picture comes together. He credits Patrick Henry's rigorous International Baccalaureate program for helping him prepare to take that next step.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)